Get parents involved so you can partner together to give their child the support they need.
Many parents would like to be involved in their children's learning, but don't necessarily understand the conceptual way of teaching math for deeper understanding. Getting them involved early on can go a long way towards making sure your students have the support they need at home. Here are some ideas for engaging parents that worked well in my district:
Give homework assignments that involve parents. I once gave my geometry students an assignment to work with their parent on a home project the parent wants to do (example: sewing a curtain or hanging a shelf). Students were asked to help with the project and identify how mathematics plays a role. (It's important that assignments that involve the parents aren't seen as a burden for the parent -- they already have a lot on their plate!)
Prepare parents for the type of learning their child will experience. Help them understand that the Standards for Mathematical Practice are meant to prepare their children for success in the future by teaching them how to think through a process and pick appropriate tools to solve a problem. Share ideas for how to use guiding questions with their child instead of simply telling them how to do something.
Keep parents in the loop with ongoing communication. Send regular emails to parents to keep them informed about what their children are learning. You can send a chapter summary for each chapter you cover, as well as articles about questioning strategies and growth mindset. (If you're using the Carnegie Learning Math Solution, the Parent Letter in the Help Center is an excellent tool to send home.)
The Math Power for Parents Handbook* is another great resource to help them understand the topics their students are learning, and the different ways those topics can be taught (versus how they might have learned them in school). Parents can use it to refresh their own understanding and better support their child at home.
Host a Family Math Night. Invite parents up to the school and let students present their work. It helps parents see their children speaking in mathematical terms and showcasing what they've learned. You can also design math stations where parents and students play games together, giving the students further opportunities to work with their parents and share what they know.
These strategies will help parents feel like your partner in their child's education, and together, you can both give students the support they need to grow their confidence and further their understanding.
*Contact us about the Math Power for Parents Handbook, available in English and Spanish.
Prior to joining Carnegie learning, Jami spent 13 years as a Secondary Math Coordinator, Mathematics Instructor, and department Chair at Amphitheater public Schools, AZ. She also spent six years in the private sector working as a chemist for Abbott pharmaceuticals. part of her experience as the Math Coordinator was working with the initial implementation of the Carnegie learning curriculum and creating professional development to support collaborative classrooms.Explore more related to this author